Rugby Town turn up the heat in warm-up campaign

Bedworth and FC Stratford at Butlin Road this week

Friday, 23rd July 2021, 11:08 am
Danico Johnson vaults rash Stourbridge tackle

PICTURES BY MARTIN PULLEY

With the start of their competitive season now less than a fortnight away, Rugby Town stepped up their preparations with a veritable glut of warm-up matches over the past week, writes Jon Venner.

Adams commented: "It was a tough schedule of friendlies for us with four games in eight days, but the lads have responded well and worked extremely hard out there."

David Kolodynski double marked by Stourbridge

After a successful first outing last Tuesday on the Butlin Road 3G against Oadby, Valley followed this up with a 3-1 victory at St.Andrews thanks to a brace from Danico Johnson and a David Kolodynski strike.

In sweltering conditions at the weekend, Southern League Premier visitors Stourbridge were just too strong for Town though - who this time were on the wrong side of a 3-1 scoreline, but Rugby were then back to winning ways in a 4-1 result at Racing Club Warwick.

The Valley boss continued: "We knew that Stourbridge were going to be tough test for us but I thought we gave a good account of ourselves in the first half, but we gifted them the lead and were sloppy again after the break for their two other goals.

"However we were good value for the win at Warwick on Tuesday evening, although to be fair we were starting to tire in the second half - which is understandable considering how gruelling it has been recently."

New keeper Ben Newey saves close range header against Stourbridge

Triallist Jordan Hayward had grabbed a late consolation for the hosts last Saturday when running onto a Justin Marsden pass to fire the goal of the game low into the bottom corner, after Stourbridge had benefitted from a comical own goal and two further moments of defensive sloppiness by Town which were punished each time by Glassboys' sub Miracle Okafur.

Hayward was involved in Rugby's two opening goals at Warwick too, with Kolodynski and Johnson each helping themselves to a third pre-season strike before half-time.

Dylan Parker chipped in a third after the break, before the home side pulled one back, with another trialling player Stefan Blake grabbing the fourth for Rugby before the end.

The Warwick game saw a first pre-season outing for experienced midfielder Barry Fitzharris, who is expected to join other new arrivals keeper Ben Newey and midfielder Max Johnson in signing registration forms for the club. Town academy graduates Josh Thomas and Melu Mpande have also both signed, with both starting in wing-back roies against Stourbridge.

29 year old Fitzharris arrives from Coleshill, having also featured for Adams at Stratford in 2016, whilst the versatile Hayward is looking to impress after most recently performing in the West Midlands League with Pershore and midfielder Blake is hoping for a second spell at Butlin Road after featuring in 19 games during the 2018/19 campaign.

Rugby face two more friendly matches over the coming week, with Bedworth the visitors this Saturday and F.C.Stratford at Butlin Road next Tuesday (27th July).

The warm-up schedule winds up a week Saturday (31st), before Town's opening league fixture - also at home - on Tuesday 3rd August against Lutterworth.